portrait of AA Bronson by Arne Svenson, August 22, 2000
In third year university, at the age of twenty years, in 1966, I had what I describe as an extended nervous breakdown. I was living at the time with two friends, Ralph and Paul, in the top of an old house. We were in the third floor garret, and the three of us shared a one-bedroom apartment.
I am thinking of the morning that I opened a little trap door into the eaves of the house and crawled in. I closed the door behind me and lay there in the dark for the rest of the day, listening to the sounds of the house, the occasional movement carried upwards from the first floor, and the faint creaking of the old house itself. By the late afternoon, Paul and Ralph had returned and I was conscious of their conversation. Their faint curiosity as to my whereabouts turned to worry and then to mild panic. At some point they decided that I had never left the house, and then there were the sounds of the search, under the bed, in the closets. Finally the little door by my face opened, letting in light, and Paul dragged me out. That's all I remember.